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Section 5

ak dept education

special ed handbook

The Special Education Service Agency (SESA) is a public agency that assists districts in serving children with low incidence, severe disabilities. SESA's core service is the Low Incidence Disability Outreach Program. This program employs special education teachers with advanced training and specialized disability experience. SESA is funded primarily through the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, and most SESA services are available at no cost to school districts.

SESA specialists provide technical assistance to helps local school district personnel and parents develop and implement an effective education program based on student needs. SESA personnel also support schools in implementing these programs. SESA services are not related services and should not be listed as such on the IEP. However, SESA services may be listed on the IEP as a support service for school personnel.

SESA Services

Types of service available through SESA include:
  • Assessments for educational planning
  • Sample educational materials
  • Modeling and/or teaching other persons how to conduct program(s)
  • Evaluation of student progress and recommendations/Monitoring of intervention strategies and IEP development
  • Workshops, in-services, and technical assistance (staff, parent, school, district-wide). Generally, in-service workshops are limited to schools also receiving on-site consultations.
  • District-wide training
  • Student-specific services
  • School or district-wide services
  • Special project services
  • Orientation and mobility training (for eligible children only)
Technical assistance may be student-specific, school-wide, or district-wide, depending on the number of eligible children and SESA resources. Technical assistance consultations may be provided through:
  • On-site Visits
  • In-service training
  • Topical workshops
  • Information dissemination (newsletter, Internet, Listserv, manuals)
SESA attempts to provide specialists that have expertise in these areas of disability:
  • Autism
  • Deafness
  • Deaf-Blindness
  • Hard of Hearing
  • Multiple Disabilities
  • Severe Mental Retardation
  • Orthopedic Impairment
  • Other Health Impairment
  • Emotional Disturbance
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Visual Impairment
Eligibility for Ongoing Service

To be eligible for caseload (ongoing) service through the Low Incidence Disability Outreach Program, the student's special education needs must be considered low incidence (occur infrequently in the special education population). In addition, the District enrollment of children with similar needs must be too low to warrant a district-employed specialist. The Alaska Legislature and EED expect districts to employ their own disability specialists when enrollments exceed the intent of the Legislature in creating SESA and the Low Incidence Disability Outreach Program.

This does not mean, however, that all SESA services are restricted to districts with very low enrollments of children with a low incidence disability. All districts have access to SESA service options such as the specialized library, the SESA Newsletter, and the SESA website ( Districts may also request short-term assistance through workshops, program reviews, etc. Such requests will be granted as resources allow.

Districts should understand that assistance provided through SESA's Low Incidence Disability Outreach Program is supplemental to the District's programming. State and federal requirements in the identification, evaluation, planning, and education of children served through the Low Incidence Outreach Program remain the responsibility of the District.

Topics commonly addressed by Low Incidence Outreach specialists include:
  • &middot; Educational planning and placement
  • &middot; Instructional methods and materials
  • &middot; Behavior programs
  • &middot; Assistive technology
  • &middot; Transition planning
  • &middot; Evaluating the effectiveness of instruction.
All consultations are customized to the needs of the eligible student(s) and district staff.

Referral Information

Information regarding Low Incidence Outreach and grant services, eligibility requirements for those services, and application procedures may be found in the packet of SESA information that is given to all district Special Education Directors each fall. Referrals must be made through the District's Special Education Director or by the EED.

Completed referrals are reviewed by SESA specialists to determine the service needs and priorities of the student and the student's school staff. Referrals are assigned to specialists as allowed by existing SESA caseloads and staffing. Children for whom no specialist is available may be placed on a wait list. In such cases, the District is contacted to determine if interim alternative services might be available.

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